Hey everyone, Jay checking in here, with some exciting news.
But hey, at least she's not 40.
I thought it would be fun to spread the news in guest blogger capacity, and oh by the way, say happy new year everyone. Happy New Year everyone!
I recently found one of my favourite CDs: 200 More Miles. It has two of my favourite songs: If You Were the Woman, and I Was the Man, and Misguided Angel. (It's also on The Trinity Sessions, but that CD I can't fnd.) Misguided Angel is really fitting my current mood, so it's being replayed a lot. To tell you how much I like this song, it inspired my one and only 'song fic' :)
Margo and Michael Timmins
I said "Mama, he's crazy and he scares me
But I want him by my side
though he's wild and he's bad
and sometimes just plain mad
I need him to keep me satisfied"
I said "Papa, don't cry cause it's alright
And I see you in some of his ways
Though he might not give me the life that you wanted
I'll love him the rest of my days"
Misguided angel hangin' over me
Heart like a Gabriel, pure and white as ivory
Soul like a Lucifer, black and cold like a piece of lead
Misguided angel, love you 'til I'm dead
I said "Brother, you speak to me of passion
You said never to settle for nothing less
Well, it's in the way he walks,
it's in the way he talks
His smile, his anger and his kisses"
I said "Sister, don't you understand?
He's all I ever wanted in a man
I'm tired of sittin' around the T.V. every night
Hoping I'm finding a Mr. Right"
Misguided angel hangin' over me
Heart like a Gabriel, pure and white as ivory
Soul like a Lucifer
Black and cold like a piece of lead
Misguided angel, love you 'til I'm dead
He says "Baby, don't listen to what they say
There comes a time when you have to break away"
He says "Baby there are things we all cling to all our life
It's time to let them go and become my wife"
Misguided angel hangin' over me
Heart like a Gabriel, pure and white as ivory
Soul like a Lucifer
Black and cold like a piece of lead
Misguided angel, love you 'til I'm dead.
And former guest bloggers, if you have your login info still, feel free to make a surprise guest appearence.
Have you ever tried to mentally prepare yourself for something that you know is going to happen eventually, but when it finally happens, no matter how you tried to psyche yourself for the inevitable, the news is still like a kick in the stomach? And just like that, everything changes.
Happy New Year to me. /sarcasm
HUGE DISCLAIMER: I never do these tag things. Ever ever! The only reason I’m doing it is because Ilyka started blogging again, which made me very happy, which made me think she needed the positive reinforcement of playing along with her evil twistedness -- just this once. So if any of you think I’m getting soft, and think you can start tagging me with abandon, errr, don’t! [insert bone shivering glare] And if I've ever not done one of your tags, don't feel bad! You just need to quit blogging for a few months, and then come back! I'm much more pliable then.
Seven Things To Do Before I Die
1: Attend a Viennese Ball, maybe even in Vienna, complete with fancy dress. Escort optional, since I’m a realist and not totally in a fantasy world here.
2: Learn to Waltz, and Swing Dance, and Tango. I’m a very accomplished (she says modestly) Scottish Country Dancer, but modernish couple dancing has always been a mystery.
3: Take at least one college class.
4: Learn Japanese.
5: Visit Egypt.
6: Visit the moon.
7: Write a novel.
Seven Things I Cannot Do
1: Knit (I can crochet)
2: Play a musical instrument.
3: Stop a Nuclear Reactor from melting down.
4: Eat fish that hasn’t been deep fried and drowned in malt vinegar.
5: Drive a car without being terrified.
6: Speak Chinese
7: Do these tag things!
Seven Things That Attract Me to My Mate
Don’t have one, never have, so I’ll skip this.
Seven Things I Say Most Often
2: Bloody hell
5: April, please remember to clean the kitchen.
6: It’s not rocket science!
Seven Books That I Love
1: The Lord of the Rings
2: Jane Eyre
3: The original three Pern books
4: Anne of Green Gables
5: Downbelow Station
6: The Silmarillion
7: The Bruce Trilogy
(That was a hard category! Only seven….)
Seven Movies That I Watch Over and Over Again
1: Pirates of the Caribbean
2: Bridget Jones’ Diary
3: Lord of the Rings
4: Local Hero
5: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
6: Dangerous Beauty
7: Force Ten From Navarone
Seven Songs I Play Over and Over Again
1: Annachie Gordon – Loreena McKennit
2: Laddie Lie Near Me -- Connie Dover
3: Something More Besides You – Cowboy Junkies
4: Full of Grace – Sarah McLachlan
5: Song for A Winter’s Night – Sarah McLachlan
6: Whiskey Lullaby – Brad Paisley & Alison Krauss
7: Sweet Dublin Bay – Silly Wizard
Okay, that’s enough positive reinforcement for a lifetime! No, I’m not passing it on. So feel free to tag yourself if you’re into that sort of pain.
Next Day: Question in the comments on the Bruce Trilogy. You can check it out here.
It's by Nigel Tranter, and all of his books are pretty darn good.
I leave on Saturday to visit my parents for a little over a week. I'm at work, coming down with something, trying to get stuff done ahead of time. No one 'does my job' when I'm away, so that means getting as much pre-done as possible. Including doing month end closing on Friday, instead of Tuesday, since I won't be here. In amongst all that, my blogging muse seems to have taken a holiday in Tahiti, cus there's not much happening here, gentle readers.
I realize I never told you how I liked Narnia when we finally got to see it. For me, it could have been a rental. It was a fine movie, but I had no emotional investment in it, I guess. I'd never read the books, and I don't have kids. Oddly enough, the part that impacted me the most was the first minutes of the movie with the scenes of the Blitz and the children being sent away. That made me cry. The end annoyed the heck out of me. If I'd read the book when I was a kid, I would have hated the ending! Bleah! :) One of my fantasy pet peeves.
However, the 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men's Chest' trailer rocked!!
If you've ever guest blogged for me before, and you'd like to again starting on Saturday, then let me know! I'll be away for a little over a week.
But Nin makes damn fine Egg Nog!
I think I'll keep her.
It seems much later than it actually is.
But before it's too late, I hope you all had a great Christmas! And here's wishing you a Happy Hanukkah!
Nin went to work at 330pm, and I took a nap. Now what? Well, I suppose I could write a very boring blog post, so here goes.
We'd intended to go to church this morning, but due to some health issues, all I managed to do was get myself in gear in time to make this for Nin's pre going to work on Xmas Day brunch, along with fried potatoes and onions and mimosas. While I cooked, she watched some of the Muppet show from the DVD set I got her for Christmas. We ate, listened to some holiday CDs, she played on the computer, I called my mum, then cleaned up the kitchen from the cooking and eating, and then she skedaddled for work. So here I sit, in dead silence, no stereo, no TV, only the roof shaking thump of children in the apartment upstairs running around like they've been on a sugar IV. It's 530pm and it's many hours till Nin comes home, so I need to do something or other. I'm seriously thinking of watching Return of the King, since we watched Love Actually last night, and I made the mistake of watching Bridget Jones to recently to want to watch it again, hence ruining my seeming tradition of watching it over the holidays. Or I could watch the umpteen eps of ST:TNG on the DVR, but I'm feeling Star Trekked out, having watched like six of the suckers on Friday.
I'll come up with something, I suppose. Or I could just sit here and stare at the computer screen.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Ilyka's been back for something like two weeks, and I hadn't a clue. Well, better late than never, I suppose. What a great blogging type Xmas pressie :)
You can listen to The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols live from the Chapel of King's College in Cambridge that was recorded this afternoon. (I have this service on CD. It's quite lovely)
If you haven't checked out the BBC Advent Calendar, you might want to. It's really lovely, with full carols sung by King's college, Cambridge, and a variety of readings by different people like Derek Jacobi. Right now I'm listening to "A Virgin Most Pure" on the 19th.
Writing in two nearly dead fandoms, and a xover at that, means I rarely get LOCs (letters of comment)/feedback anymore. Sometimes it can be a little discouraging when you wonder if anyone at all even reads the story you worked so hard on. (It's kind of like being a blogger and no one ever comments, I guess) These days, if I get one email, I feel like I'm doing well. By contrast, when Highlander and Forever Knight were still on the air, I'd get 20-30 emails when I posted something. So, it was very nice to DL my email to find this:
As for people still reading your stories, you write so that we can actually *see* the characters in our minds' eye. That is what keepspeople coming back.
I tell you, that made my week! And considering I'm drifting into my regularly scheduled holiday blues, and coming down with April's flu, it really cheered me up!
David MacDougall, who is an FNC reporter in Iraq, has the loveliest Scottish accent.
Just thought I'd mention it :)
I finsished the fanfic I've been talking about. If you're interested, you can find it here.
At 1:30 actually, but I'm just now getting around to the computer. I cleaned the cat box, cleared the dining table of a few weeks of mail, loaded the dishwasher, emptied my freezer, and cleaned off the blackboard, then put everything back in the freeezer, noting what it was on the blackboard as it went back in. Then dragged in the 50 lb box containing our faux cherry pressboard shelf bits. No more using the edges of boxes as bookshelves! whew!
In other news, I finished wrtiting the story I mentioned yesterday! TamTam is now betaing it for me, and hopefully, I'll get to start posting it tomorrow. Still pondering a title though.
Last night, Mickey told me she was engaged. Today, she has a blog post up, so I can finally SQUEALLLLL about it here. I've know Mickey for nearly ten years, and no one deserves such happiness more than she does. Go read her story. It proves that true love is timeless.
Curious about what time you have your Christmas dinner. I was surprised at talking with people over the last week to discover many people eat at 1-2pm. We always eat around 6-7pm. And I want to know what you eat when you eat it! Me: turkey, stuffing, garlic mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts (yeck!), some sort of sweet potato thing (double yeck!), corn, and plum pudding for dessert, plus the left over baked goods from our Christmas Eve celebration (when we open our gifts). And last, toss in your favourite Xmas carol for good measure.
A bit later: should add the above is what we used to do. Now it's just me and April and she's working on Christmas 3-12am. So I'll be all alone eating a grilled cheese sandwich or something.
More Later: I polled my coworkers and they are somewhere between 4-6pm for Xmas dinner.
The usual drill: leave info in comments, or trackback form your own blog.
So who else is stuck at work? Not very darn many if the drive to work this morning is any indication!
The first story I ever posted, way back when, was a Christmas one. The last few weeks, I've been on a writing jag -- and considering it's been more than two years since I've posted anything this is different. Anyway, I have two epics in the works, one at something like 27 pages so far, but yesterday I was inspired to try and do another Xmas story. I had found a snippet from a Star Wars challenge I never completed, but I really liked what I had, so voila! I adapted it, and hopefully, I'll be done in time for Xmas posting! So be afraid!
Every year, we get a box of Maxifield's Chocolates here at work. They are truly the most disgustng chocolates you could ever hope to eat -- but we eat them anyway. We think it's some sort of curse since the guy who used to always give them to us stopped when he retired, but guess what? Somone else started giving us a box! So it's like a tradtion for us now to gather round the four pound box and choose the ones that are the least icky. By the middle of January, all that will be left is the 'lemon' cream -- the colour of a yellow highliter inside -- and some of the really nasty butter rum ones. Finally, the day will come when someone really wants some sugar, and will eat even those.
It's very sad.
I guess it's too much to expect one paltry box of See's one day.
I very much liked this article An excerpt:
.... Of course, both the anticipation and the celebration are essential to Christmas. Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem because of a "decree that went out from Caesar Augustus." How remarkable in the Gospel of Luke is this "coincidence," this linking of the first Roman emperor with the birth of the Son of Man in a manger, in that particular place at the origins of the House of David. But few knew of this event when it happened. Though angels were singing on high, it was a whole before a couple of Roman historians even hinted at it. Christmas is not a feast of great events in this world. Rather it is a feast that reminds that great things take place in small towns, in out of the way places, things that need time to grow, to flourish.
Rush Limbaugh one day talked of a book called The War Against Christmas. No doubt there is such a war. Christmas seems to bring out in some a certain kind of venom that strikes us Christians as bordering on the diabolical. "Why is this most tender of feasts subject to such resentment?" we wonder to ourselves. In these days of an often-intolerant tolerance, we hesitate to speculate. We know of the words spoken of this Child born amongst us that many would rise and fall because of Him. A sword would pierce the heart of His mother. He could not be ignored, even if rejected, perhaps especially if rejected. Such things go against the mood of our age, yet are more true in our age than ever before.
In the Breviary for Christmas Eve, we find a sermon of the great Augustine. "Awake, mankind!" he tells us. "For your sake God has become man.... I tell you again: for your sake, God became man." Is this the clue we need? "You would have suffered eternal death, had he not been born in time. Never would you have been freed from sinful flesh, had he not taken on himself the likeness of sinful flesh." We do not like to be reminded of our sinfulness. We do not like to know what is wrong so that we are left free to do what we will.
On Christmas Eve, our redemption is at hand. But it does not work itself out as we might like, as we would have done it if we were in charge. The shadow of the Cross hovers over the Manger. But what happens is for "our sake." We are to be "awake," almost as if it is possible for us to miss the most momentous thing that has happened to our kind. We can, indeed, choose not to see. .
Gruyère and Prosciutto Oven Omelette
An easy oven-baked omelette goes together in a jiffy to make a hearty main course for guests. Assemble in advance and refrigerate, then top with the bread cubes just before baking. They add a pleasant crunch to the finished wedges.
1 cup milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
2 oz. prosciutto or ham, julienned
2 cups shredded Gruyère or Swiss cheese
1/2 cup sourdough French bread cubes (1/2-inch
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a shallow 1 1/2-quart round baking dish, 9 1/2 inches in diameter.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs until blended. Stir in the milk, salt, nutmeg, prosciutto and cheese until evenly distributed. Pour the egg mixture into the prepared baking dish.
In a small bowl, toss the bread cubes with the olive oil to coat. Scatter the bread cubes evenly over the egg mixture.
Bake until the omelette is golden brown on top and slightly puffed, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve hot, cut into wedges. Serves 6 to 8.
Via SciFi wire comes the news that SciFi Channel is going to air the series, including the episodes that never aired on ABC. So those of us who were left hanging after part one of the two parter aired will get some resolution.
Making the rounds in email:
PSYCHIATRISTS' CHRISTMAS CAROLS FOR EVERY DIAGNOSIS
Schizophrenia ~~ Do You Hear What I Hear?
Multiple Personality Disorder ~~ We Three Queens Disoriented Are
Dementia ~~ I Think I'll Be Home For Christmas
Narcissistic ~~ Hark The Herald Angels Sing About Me
Manic ~~ Deck The Hall and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and Trucks and Trees and Fire Hydrants and.....
Paranoid ~~ Santa Claus Is Coming To Get Me
Borderline Personality Disorder ~~ Thoughts Of Roasting On An Open Fire
Personality Disorder ~~ You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll Tell You Why
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder ~~ Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells
ADHD ~~ Hark the herald angels sing ba-rum-pa-pum-pum in the little town of Bethlehem up on the housetop in a winter wonderland one foggy Christmas Eve hey how bout them Bears no I don't want to switch to Sprint but thank you for shopping at K-Mart.
Panettone French Toast
A spongy golden Italian egg bread studded with dried fruits, panettone is a treasure to have on hand for holiday breakfasts and teas. The sweet bread is popular in Italy year-round but especially during the holidays. Because of the high egg and butter content, panettone will keep for several days after opening. Excellent panettones are available in specialty-food shops during the holidays, packaged in tall, tapering cardboard boxes, often wrapped in bright foil. Serve panettone sliced, untoasted or toasted, with jams or citrus curd, or use it to make this special French toast.
1 purchased panettone, about 2 lb.
2 cups milk
Grated zest of 1 orange
1 cup fresh orange juice
2 Tbs. Cointreau or other orange liqueur
1/2 tsp. almond extract
6 Tbs. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
4 to 6 tsp. unsalted butter
4 to 6 tsp. canola or grapeseed oil
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Warmed maple syrup, plain yogurt and lemon
wedges for serving
Cut the panettone into 12 to 15 vertical slices, each 1 inch thick, then cut all but the end slices in half.
In a bowl, whisk the eggs until just blended, then whisk in the milk, orange zest and juice, Cointreau, almond extract, granulated sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour into a large shallow bowl or dish (you may need 2 bowls) and place the bread slices in the mixture. Soak for about 10 minutes per side.
In each of 2 large sauté pans or fry pans over medium heat, melt 1 tsp. of the butter with 1 tsp. of the oil. When the butter foams, add some of the soaked bread slices, taking care not to crowd them. Cook, turning once, until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Turn the slices over again and cook them for a few minutes more per side until browned to your taste.
Turn off the heat. Using a slotted metal spatula, transfer the French toast to serving plates, place them in the oven and turn the oven on to 200°F. Repeat to cook the remaining slices.
Dust the French toast with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately, with maple syrup, yogurt and lemon wedges. Serves 8 to 10.
I splurged and got myself season 4/5/6 of Highlander on DVD when a friend told me that the official store sold them at $29 a set as opposed to the over $80 charged everywhere else. I'd never been able to justify that price when all I wanted was the episodes with Methos in them. What I had been doing was rewatching really old VHS copies that were getting very distorted. So it was time for the DVDs! What I didn't know was they had extras! lots and lots of extras! More Methos! More Peter Wingfield. They had the alternate cut of Revelations 6:8 and Comes a Horseman! And bloopers, including the Cow Quickening!
So that's what I spent the majority of yesterday doing, watching the Methos eps on DVD and viewing all the extra footage included with each one. [sigh]
Almond Scones with Tangerine Curd
An English delicacy, citrus curds are traditionally spread on warm scones and tea breads or used as a pastry filling. Curds are simple to make: Egg yolks and sugar are beaten with citrus juice over hot water until thickened, then the mixture is stabilized by adding butter, which allows it to remain thick when chilled. Although curds can be made in a double boiler pan set, they are easier to make in a stainless-steel bowl set over a pan of simmering water. The larger, wider bowl facilitates whisking. Citrus curd will keep for weeks in the refrigerator, making it a good holiday gift.
For the tangerine curd:
1 whole egg plus 4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
Grated zest of 1 tangerine
3/4 cup fresh tangerine juice
6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter
For the scones:
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup blanched almonds, finely ground, plus
1/4 cup sliced almonds
2 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. baking powder
3/4 tsp. fine sea salt
6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 Tbs. half-and-half
To make the tangerine curd, in a saucepan over medium-low heat, bring 1 inch of water to a low simmer. In a stainless-steel bowl, combine the whole egg, egg yolks, sugar and kosher salt and whisk to combine. Whisk in the tangerine zest and juice. Place the bowl over the pan of simmering water and whisk until the eggs are warm and begin to thicken, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the butter 1 Tbs. at a time and continue whisking constantly until the mixture is thick enough to form a thick, nondissolving ribbon on the surface when dropped from the whisk, at least 10 minutes total.
Remove from the heat and strain the curd through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming, and let cool. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 1 week.
Preheat an oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
To make the scones, in a large bowl, combine the flour, ground almonds, sugar, baking powder and sea salt and whisk until well blended. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter or 2 table knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream and almond extract. Stir into the flour mixture just until evenly moistened.
Turn the dough out on a floured board, form it into a ball and knead a few times just until smooth. Pat into a disk about 1 inch thick and cut into 12 equal wedges. Transfer the wedges to the prepared pan, spacing them 2 inches apart. Brush the tops lightly with the yolk mixture. Sprinkle each wedge with about 1 tsp. of the sliced almonds.
Bake until the scones are golden brown on the bottoms and lightly golden on the tops, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for a few minutes. Serve warm, with the tangerine curd. Makes 12 scones and 1 1/2 cups curd.
For A New Year's Brunch
Prepared with a light soufflélike filling, these crepes puff up beautifully and make a lovely presentation for a brunch. Place the cheese mixture on one quadrant of a crepe. Fold the crepe in half and then in half again to form a cone shape. Carefully place the crepe in the gratin dish, with the excess layers underneath. To ensure the crepes rise evenly, they should barely overlap in the dish. Serve immediately after baking.
1 cup fromage blanc
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Zest of 1 orange
Pinch of salt
8 crepes (see related recipe in the extended entry)
5 egg whites
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 375°F. Butter a large oval gratin dish. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a bowl, whisk together the fromage blanc, 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar, the egg yolks, flour, vanilla, orange zest and salt. Lay the crepes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar, increase the speed to high and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 3 minutes. Gently fold half of the whites into the cheese mixture. Quickly fold in the remaining whites.
Place one-eighth of the cheese mixture on one quadrant of a crepe. Fold the crepe into quarters and transfer to the prepared gratin dish, placing the excess layers underneath. Fill and fold the remaining crepes, overlapping them as little as possible in the dish. Bake until the crepes are golden brown and the filling is set, about 20 minutes. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve immediately. Serves 8.
These crepes can be used with a variety of sweet or savory fillings. They're the perfect foundation for our souffléd crepes (see related recipe at right).
1 cup milk
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1/2 Tbs. melted unsalted butter, plus 8 tsp.
1/2 tsp. salt
In a blender, combine the milk, egg, flour, the 1/2 Tbs. melted butter and the salt and blend until smooth. Refrigerate for 2 to 8 hours.
In a crepe pan over medium heat, melt 1 tsp. of the butter to coat the pan evenly. Lift the pan at a slight angle and pour 2 Tbs. of the batter into the center, tilting the pan to spread the batter to the edges. Return the pan to the heat and cook until the crepe is golden underneath, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a spatula, flip the crepe over and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cover. Repeat with the remaining batter. Makes 8 crepes.
Listening to this. Most excellent. What makes it better is that I'm actually getting to listen to it on my stereo!! Santa aka Jen and Dave, gave us a new amp/receiver for Christmas. You have no idea how much I missed listening to music over the last six or so months. For the techie geeks amongst you, it's this one. It was one of the ones I'd had on my short list for a some day in the future purchase, so it was kewl to get it so very unexpectedly!
Going to Nin's work 'Christmas Party' tonight. One we have to pay for. Ho ho ho! But she seems to really want to go, so...
After dinner, she's dragging me to Narnia. On the bright side, POTC II trailer!
Going to do a little writing this afternoon. Tried last night, but it was a bad pain day so I couldn't concentrate. The story is bursting at the seams inside my brain, so must get some done.
Nin's at work. supposed to be off, but got called in.
Now to figure out what to wear tonight.
Still haven't eaten anything today.
BTW, we'll be gone the first week in January to visit the family. If any of my past guest bloggers would like to fill in again, let me know!
Spiced Shrimp Cigars
These crispy finger-size rolls are especially popular for entertaining because they can be prepared up to 1 day in advance of serving: Simply shape the rolls, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet and refrigerate, then bake before serving.
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3/4 cup peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
(fresh or canned)
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. sweet paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Pinch of saffron threads
About 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
9 sheets (about 1/2 lb.) phyllo dough
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Lemon wedges for garnish
In a fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to turn pink, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the shrimp to a cutting board; chop coarsely and set aside.
Return the pan to medium-low heat. Add the tomatoes, onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, cumin, paprika, cayenne and saffron and stir to mix well. Simmer slowly, stirring occasionally, until the moisture has evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the shrimp and enough bread crumbs to make a fairly dry mixture. Mix well and season with salt and pepper.
Preheat an oven to 400°F. Lightly butter a baking sheet.
Place the phyllo sheets in a neat stack on a cutting board and cut the stack crosswise into quarters, forming strips about 4 inches wide. Cover with a dampened kitchen towel until ready to use.
In a small fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the extra-virgin olive oil. Remove from the heat. Brush 1 phyllo strip very lightly with the butter mixture and place a second strip on top. Brush the second strip lightly with the butter mixture. Place a heaping teaspoonful of filling along the short end nearest you. Fold in the sides of the phyllo to enclose the filling and then roll up to form a cigar shape. Place on the prepared baking sheet and brush lightly with the butter mixture. Repeat with the remaining phyllo and filling.
Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a platter and garnish with lemon wedges. Serve immediately. Makes 18 rolls; serves 6.
He was by far my favourite actor on West Wing. I'd just been involved in an email conversation about him earlier this week. Very sad.
Spike TV runs three episodes ST:TNG every weekday, so I've been taking the opportunity to review the series. Some of these I haven't seen since they originally aired. They just started with season one, and while I remembered that a lot of it was dreadful, I'd forgotten how much pretentious twaddle littered the dialogue. It's like John Kerry was one of the script writers. Bleah! Can't wait to move past season one and on to the better seasons. Though, I'm sure the twaddle factor will still be high, just the memory of it blurred by too many years.
Jami's getting married! I'd link to the announcement post, but I canna find it, Captain! So go find a random post over there to offer your congratulations! :)
Peppered Beef Tenderloin Crostini with Caramelized Onions
Since the beef is served cold, you can roast it a day or two in advance. After roasting, let it cool to room temperature, wrap well and refrigerate until ready to serve. This will also allow the meat to further absorb the pepper flavor.
1 center-cut piece of beef tenderloin, about
3 lb., well trimmed
Salt, to taste
2 Tbs. coarsely cracked peppercorns
4 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 baguette, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 red onion, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Chopped fresh tarragon for garnish
Preheat an oven to 425ºF.
Using kitchen string, tie the beef at 1-inch intervals along the length of the roast and season generously with salt. Arrange the peppercorns on a large plate in a thin layer and roll the beef in the peppercorns to coat evenly.
In a large ovenproof fry pan over high heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil until nearly smoking. Carefully place the beef in the pan and brown 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast, turning the beef occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 125ºF for very rare to rare, about 20 minutes; 130ºF for medium-rare, about 25 minutes; or until done to your liking.
Transfer the beef to a platter and let cool to room temperature. Wrap the beef tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.
Meanwhile, reduce the oven temperature to 325ºF.
Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet, brush lightly with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until golden and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Let the crostini cool to room temperature, then store in an airtight container until ready to serve. (They will stay fresh for 5 to 7 days.)
In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil. Add the red and yellow onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes more. Add the vinegar and cook, stirring often, until the liquid is nearly evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes more. Season with salt, remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
To serve, slice the beef crosswise into very thin slices (about 1/8 inch thick). Arrange the crostini on a serving tray, and top each with a slice of beef and 1 to 2 tsp. of the caramelized onions. Garnish each with a pinch of tarragon. Makes 50 to 60 pieces; serves 8 to 10.
I always, always, wash new clothes before I wear them. Hey, you don't know where they've been! And yes, I get teased about it too. I got a new pair of jeans in the mail last night, and decided to wear them today, forgoing my usual wash first rule. Mistake!! They smell funny [pout] Don't laugh! It's very vexing to me [even more of a pout]
I've got about twenty pages of fic written so far. I've been on a real writing jag or something. But, I hadn't failed to notice that I'm blogging a lot less. Since I always wondered if my beginning blogging lead in part to my lack of fiction writing, I have to think the two are indeed related.
Later: I finally found the power cable for my external drive a few nights back, which had all my old fic files on it, including what turned out to be well over a dozen unfinished stories. I'd forgotten how much I used to write before blogging. Thinking back, I guess I did scribble at something for a few hours most every night. Then there were the nights on IRC where I would write and paste to entertain the channel. We used to take turns. That's actually when I wrote my first story and was convinced to post it on the various fanfic lists. It was the great POST IT! campaign of 1997.
Time sure flies.
1 cup vodka
1/4 cup dry vermouth
1/2 cup cranberry juice
8 cranberries, frozen
4 lemon zest twists
Put 4 martini glasses in the freezer to chill for at least 30 minutes.
Just before serving, fill a cocktail shaker half full with ice. Pour in the vodka, vermouth and cranberry juice. Cover with the lid and shake vigorously up and down for about 10 seconds. Strain into the chilled glasses, dividing evenly. Garnish each glass with 2 frozen cranberries and a lemon twist. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
I mentioned last night to Nin that I had thought Wilson had had something to do with Cuddy's change of heart concerning Foreman taking over. I was just talking to my coworker who is a recent convert to the show, and he said he, and a friend of his who also watches, thought the same thing. I wonder if we're totally out in left field, or if something will be revealed in the next new episode?
We all also found it interesting that House was much nicer -- for him -- to the patient than he usually was.
Cameron was House Junoir last night! She's been paying attention!
A bit later: Cap's take. Which reminds me: the motorcycle ride! Get on the damn bike, Cameron!! I think her smile after proved she finally 'got' it :)
Almost the only reason Tam ever calls me is because something is wrong. For example, she called me in agony from the hospital as she was about to be rushed into emergencey surgery. So she just called me at work, and the first words out of my mouth are, "what's wrong?!!?!". Turns out she will call me for something other than disaster, and that's to say, "Narnia was great!". My reaction? "That's nice." So she decided to hang up and call someone who would react with the required joy. Kidding!! No, we actually had a nice chat -- just not about Narnia. [hugs TamTam]
Eggnog with Nutmeg and Cinnamon
1 or 2 whole nutmegs
1 cinnamon stick
12 egg yolks
4 cups milk
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups brandy, Cognac, rum or bourbon
Using a nutmeg grater or the smallest rasps on a handheld grater-shredder, grate the nutmeg until you have about 1 tsp. In a spice grinder or a coffee grinder reserved for spices, grind the cinnamon stick. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, 2 cups of the milk and 1 cup of the sugar. Place over low heat and simmer, stirring often, until slightly thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the remaining 2 cups milk and let cool.
In a bowl, using a handheld mixer or whisk, whip the cream with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the vanilla until soft peaks form. Set aside.
Strain the cooled mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and pour into a serving pitcher or a small punch bowl. Stir in the brandy. Serve the eggnog in cups or glasses, topped with a dollop of the whipped cream and a sprinkle each of nutmeg and cinnamon. Serves 8 to 10.
Cranberry-Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Streusel Topping
Made from butter, flour, sugar and sometimes nuts, streusel cooks into a topping similar to the American crisp and the British crumble, terms that are often used interchangeably. Streusel can be sprinkled over muffins, cupcakes, pies or fresh, soft fruit before baking. In the oven, the butter melts and causes the dry mixture to cook into a crisp, crumbly topping. Without the butter, the mixture would simply scorch.
For the streusel topping:
8 Tbs. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 8
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. fine sea salt
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries, soaked in warm water
for 15 minutes, drained and squeezed dry
To make the streusel topping, in a chilled bowl, combine the butter, sugar and flour. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is the consistency of fine, moist bread crumbs. Work the mixture with your hands until it will hold together when compressed, then squeeze it between your hands into several firm pieces. Cover and refrigerate until the cake is ready to go into the oven.
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch or similar-size baking dish with butter.
Place the sour cream in a bowl and sift the baking soda and salt into it. Stir to blend evenly and set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed or a wooden spoon, beat together the butter, sugar and eggs until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Sift the flour and baking powder over the top and mix in, then beat in the sour cream mixture. Scatter the chocolate chips and the drained cranberries over the top. Blend in with just a few turns of a rubber spatula.
Scoop the batter into the prepared dish and smooth the surface. Scatter the streusel mixture evenly over the top, breaking it up into large crouton-size pieces (some of the streusel mixture may be small crumbs).
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean but not completely dry, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into squares. Serves 10.
The latest issue of the Red Ensign Standard is up here for your reading pleasure.
We were able to reschedule our canceled Lady Washington trip, and went out yesterday. It was a beautiful afternoon, and on the way back, as the sun went down, Monterey Bay was like glass and the sky was orange and red and pink. And I, of course, forgot my camera. I saw jelly fish too! I love jelly fish, but have only seen them at the aqaurium, or dead on the beach, so seeing them in the water below the boat was kewl. Has a nice conversation with the purser about seafaring and the Jack Aubrey books. Turns out that's what made him sign up. He saw the movie, Master & Commander, got a few of the books, read about the Lady Washington, and signed up for the the standard two week volunteer stint. He liked it so much, he applied for the purser's position, and has been there about two months now. They're going to be down at various ports in SoCal over the next couple of months, so check out the schedule on thier website and take the opportunity to visit her. You won't be sorry.
If I remember, I'm going to post some holiday type recipes this month. Here's the first one:
Raspberry Champagne Cocktail
Fresh raspberries macerated in crème de cassis and then bathed in chilled Champagne, with just a hint of grenadine for extra flavor, make this a sumptuous and eye-catching aperitif for a special meal.
4 oz. fresh raspberries
3 Tbs. crème de cassis
1 bottle (750ml) dry Champagne, chilled
4 to 6 tsp. grenadine syrup (optional)
Put the raspberries in a small bowl, add the crème de cassis and let macerate for at least 30 minutes.
Divide the raspberries among 6 Champagne flutes and pour in the well-chilled Champagne. Add grenadine to taste and serve immediately. Serves 6.
That's the potential, possible, maybe title of Pirates of the Caribbean III.
If you're a fan of snark and House and General Hospital you must go read the lovely Captain Anne's semi new blog! The good Captain is one of the dearest members of my House list and she has a keen wit, not to mention, is a great writer.
I have the Corner RSS feed on my Yahoo homepage, and I saw this subject header: "THERE ARE FOUR LIGHTS!!!". I immediatly knew that it was a post by Jonah Goldberg, and I also knew what it meant. Should I be scared? Probably.
In Egyptian myth, Apophis was the ancient spirit of evil and destruction, a demon that was determined to plunge the world into eternal darkness.
A fitting name, astronomers reasoned, for a menace now hurtling towards Earth from outerspace. Scientists are monitoring the progress of a 390-metre wide asteroid discovered last year that is potentially on a collision course with the planet, and are imploring governments to decide on a strategy for dealing with it.
as the oddest product I've seen lately.
and it's a best seller for Christmas, believe it or not!
This blog I discovered via an email from the blog's owner. A lot of interesting stuff on depression and stress. So if you're looking to read something a little different, give it a shot. I found this entry on nature deficit disorder particularly interesting
Congratulations to all my fellow Cotillion members who were nominated for blog awards this year!
Another thank you to my own personal Santas, Jim and Kim, for the Into the West DVDs! Now I can finally see the last episode! I really loved the mini series, and was seriously bummed when my VCR pooped out while I was out of town.
The legal -- and much better quality -- teaser trailer can be found here.
Let the countdown begin!!.
As you may know, Nin's 30th birthday is on Sunday. Since it's a 'special' birthday, I planned something special. We were supposed to sail on the Lady Washington -- which was on a stop in our general neck of the woods -- Sunday afternoon, but due to 'technical difficulties', it's all off. (I'm assuming it had something to do with the storm yesterday). So no special event now. and to top it off, her birthday gift, which was supposed to be here yesterday won't be here now till Monday. Just can't win. I'm just slightly bummed out now.
I wanted to buy a 3 qt Calphalon Tri-Ply saucepan from Amazon. Now, I can't afford the stuff full price, but I keep my eyes out for the occasional 50% sales. There is such a sale currently. It was ten dollars more from Amazon than buying at Macy's through Amazon, but if you bought the Amazon one, you got free shipping, so I chose Amazon since I was also getting a set of Abbott & Costello DVDs for my father's Xmas gift. I went to buy it this morning, but when I got to the checkout stand, their gift certificate redemption function wasn't working, so I quit it. I just went back, and now the pot from Amazon is now the same price as the cheaper Macy's one, but still with free shipping! Woo! Even better, I'm at the last page of checking out, and they offer me a free three month trial of Amazon Prime. So now, I get my pot in two days, instead of nine the free super saver shipping takes! And the rest of my Christmas shopping will be that much cheaper!
I'm easily pleased.
The BBC website has a nice Advent Calendar up here. And poking around the site, I find they have a whole season of readings and services available to listen to online, including two Midnight Mass services.
Quite possibly, according to this archaeologist.
As I noted yesterday, it was St. Andrews Day. Following up on that, here's an article from the Scotsman I read today: Call for St Andrew's Day holiday stirs up the national debate